Raven 85: The Self

The self is passion. You don't need to think about your passion too much -- just have it, and watch it. I won't say embody it, since you can't not. I will say: if you take it for real, it can wear you out.

Badger came to Raven privately and asked, "What is the self?"
Raven said, "Passion."
Badger asked, "Why are we told to forget it?"
Raven said, "Forget it!"
Badger said, "That's scary."
Raven croaked.
Badger sat back on his haunches and was silent.
Raven said, "Now I'm tired."
This mouth opens, and out I come:
A draft of air and jetsam.
Air: breath, warm and humid, de-oxygenated.
Jetsam: vocabulary, syntax, accent, tone, and
Voice that could be no one else’s —
Tossed from a foundering vessel.

This mouth opens, and out I come:
A current of particularity and karmic goo,
Not at all the luminous seaworthy universality,
I dreamed sailing into port.

When I'm not haunted this way,
When dreams of absoluteness are wakened from,
Or the wreckage recognized as their realization,
Then this mouth opens, and out I come, and
Maybe my eddies of debris and yours
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon

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